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#SBS23 Guest Spotlight: The ACC Liverpool Group

Featured image credit: The ACC Liverpool Group

Featured image credit: The ACC Liverpool Group

Ahead of TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2023, Ben Williams, Commercial and Business Development Director at The ACC Liverpool Group, shares his thoughts on the current trends and opportunities in the arena marketplace.

The ACC Liverpool Group is the operator of the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool, as well as the adjoining Exhibition Centre Liverpool and convention centre. The campus recently hosted the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine.

Williams’ role includes developing the overall commercial strategy for the organisation as well as focusing on consumer event development and product development.

TheStadiumBusiness: What are the key current challenges and opportunities in the arena marketplace?

Ben Williams: “Customers continue to expect a more experiential, rounded night out which doesn’t just start and end with the show. They expect a range of catering offers and the opportunity to upgrade for special occasions. With this in mind we continuously provide and enhance a variety of different products.

“In terms of challenges, there’s no denying that the cost of living crisis continues to impact disposable income. Offering a selection of ticket price ranges gives customers more options. We are finding that super-fans will continue to pay the highest price point for their favourite artists and the lower prices are selling well, often leaving more availability for the middle price options.”

TSB: What are the most interesting trends you are witnessing in the arena sector?

BW: “The live entertainment market is looking considerably healthier than in recent years with a large number of artists keen to make up for time lost during the pandemic. Many acts have toured over the last year and are touring this year with a predominance of outdoors shows over the summer months.”

TSB: What’s on the roadmap for ACC Liverpool Group/M&S Bank Arena over the next six to 12 months

BW: “The next year is looking extremely encouraging with a mixture of national and international entertainment, comedy and sporting events. Eurovision really did help to project us onto the international stage which has given us a fantastic opportunity to leverage this global event. We hope this, together with the city’s musical heritage, will impact the range of artists we attract and who want to perform here.

“Aside from music, we continue to see growth in sporting events – particularly as Liverpool has a rich sporting heritage.

“We are committed to continuously ensuring the arena experience is the best it can be and are creating additional bar and toilet facilities on the arena floor.

“Sustainability is a key focus for us and features heavily in our Social Value Impact Plan which is now in its second year, assisting clients to build sustainable elements into their events, measure impact and take steps to reduce emissions and waste.”

TSB: What are you looking forward to most about the Summit?

BW: “It’s always a great opportunity to network with peers, listen to lively debates and share ideas and knowledge – which all helps to continue to progress and develop our fast-paced, exciting industry.”